Garfield Medical Center, Monterey Park, Calif., will pay a $530,000 settlement following a lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission alleging the hospital created an atmosphere that enabled a male emergency room employee to sexually harass at least 10 female employees.
Calif. hospital settles harassment lawsuit
Garfield administrators fired an employee who reported the harassment and the hospital further retaliated by creating a hostile work environment for other employees, according to the EEOC.
The EEOC filed the suit in August 2010 in federal court, and said the harassment included groping, graphic descriptions of sexual acts, propositions for sex, obscene pictures and lewd comments about female body parts, including comments about an underage female patient. The incidents started in 2007, the EEOC said. The harasser went through counseling and was fired in 2009, two years after other workers notified the hospital of the allegations.
The settlement includes setting $100,000 aside as a class fund for victims who haven't come forward. Garfield must also maintain a toll-free complaint hotline, hire a consultant to track complaints, and provide anti-harassment and anti-retaliation training for staff.
Officials at 210-bed Garfield issued a statement about the agreement saying they “disagree with the EEOC's characterization of events,” and made the agreement to “avoid expensive and protracted litigation and are pleased to have this matter concluded.”
“The hospital's dedicated team can now move ahead without distraction as we focus on our core mission—providing the highest quality of care to the patients we serve,” the statement also read.
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